Scheduling, preparing for, attending, and following-up on sales calls.
This measure involves some or all of the following elements:
- Identifying the lead.
- Scheduling the appointment.
- Preparing for the appointment.
- Conducting the appointment
- Following up after the appointment
- Closing the business
WHEN TO USE THIS MEASURE
Certain types of sales processes lend themselves very well to this measure. These are processes where it has been determined in advance that the sale is a "numbers game;" that is, where a certain number of phone calls generates a certain number of appointments, which leads to a certain number of meetings, which results in a certain number of proposals, which ultimately produces a certain volume of sales. In these situations, it is essential that sales people "make their numbers."
That said, many people, including me, shy away from measures like these, favoring instead measure that focus on the desired outcome (i.e., the sale itself) rather than the steps along the way. In addition, experienced sales people don't appreciate being "micro-managed" and may perceive such measures as demeaning. It is important to recognize that not every sales person approaches the sales process the same way.
That said, there are certain situation where measuring and paying for key sales milestones works well:
- When you have an inexperienced sales force
- When you are certain that following a certain process will maximize sales
- When you have a large and/or geographically diverse sales force making consistency important.
HOW TO USE THIS MEASURE
When you use this measure, remember to:
- Specify in detail what constitutes a "qualified lead" and only give credit for these leads.
- Couple process measures (like appointments) with results measures (like closed business) on the incentive plan.
- Weight the results measure (the sale) higher than the appointment since that is what you are really after.
WHO IS MEASURE BEST SUITED FOR?
This measure is best suited to new or inexperienced sales and/or marketing people as a way to motivate them to follow a particular sales process and to reward them when they successfully achieve certain milestones.
CAN THIS MEASURE BE GAMED?
If you pay for appointments, you will get appointments. But you may not get the type of appointments you really want. We have all heard stories of sales people padding their calendars with friends, neighbors and relatives just to show activity, even though it is not likely to produce business. When using this measure, be certain to define in detail what constitutes a "qualified lead" and only give credit for those leads.
It is also important to make sure that sales people document their appointments and that the sales manager follows up to make sure that not only did the neeting happen, but they happened the way the sales person said they did. You don't want to give credit for an appointment that lasted 5 minutes because the prospect had to leave or one that didn't happen at all because the prospect called to cancel.
I may sound cynical, but these are the kind of issues that come up when you decide to measure the process rather than the outcome. If you use these types of measures, you should be fully aware of the behavior they can create.